Home Television Drama Riverboat


1 9 5 9 – 1 9 6 1 (USA)
44 x 60 minute episodes

The Enterprise was a 100-foot-long paddle steamer that churned up and down the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers during the 1840s.

The captain and owner of the boat was Grey Holden (Darren McGavin), a former fighter, rum-runner, swordsman, dock foreman, and soldier. A fun-loving romantic, Grey had won the boat in a poker game and was determined to make it a profitable venture, carrying passengers, hauling freight, and doing anything else it could to generate revenue.

Boat pilot Ben Frazer (an early role from Burt Reynolds) was the co-lead when Riverboat first aired, an orphan whose entire life had been spent along the Mississippi.

Both he and crew member Travis (William D Gordon) were written out of the series in the middle of its first season.

When it returned in 1960, Riverboat had a new co-lead in Bill Blake (Noah Beery Jr), as a pilot who had bought 49% of the Enterprise and was constantly seeking to take a controlling interest.

First mate Joshua (Jack Lambert) and crew member Carney (Richard Wessell) were still in the cast, but gone were cabin boy Chip (Mike McGreevey), ballad-singing cook Pickalong (Jack Mitchum), and Terry Blake (Bart Patten), the cub-pilot who had replaced Ben Frazer.

Captain Holden spent more time away from the boat and got involved in more romantic entanglements than during the first season.

Grey Holden
Darren McGavin
Ben Frazer
Burt Reynolds
Bill Blake
Noah Beery Jr
William D Gordon
Richard Wessell
Jack Lambert
Mike McGreevey
Jack Mitchum
Terry Blake
Bart Patten